GORE 2000: Launches ‘E-Debate’ Tactics
Using a novel approach to launch yet another attack on Bill Bradley's health care proposal, Vice President Al Gore Wednesday challenged his Democratic opponent to engage in a series of "e-debates" that would cover one topic a week. Stopping at Washington, D.C.'s Cyberstop Cafe, Gore e-mailed Bradley, asking how he plans to reserve funds for Medicare if he uses the majority of the surplus to cover the cost of his health care plan (Brosnan, Scripps Howard News Service/Nashua Telegraph, 12/9). Indicating that he has discovered an "oversight" in Bradley's plan, Gore wrote, "What specific measures do you propose to compensate for not dedicating any of the surplus to strengthen the Medicare trust fund?" After sending his inquiry, Gore said that he was trying this new approach since Bradley "hasn't been willing to accept" his challenges to debate various issues. The e-debates would provide a forum to "illuminate the policy differences" between their platforms, Gore said.
A Puppy with a New Toy?
Since Bradley announced his ambitious plan in September, Gore has acted like a "puppy with a new chew toy," ripping and tearing the plan to shreds, while, until recently, Bradley failed to mount a defense (Tapper, Salon.com, 12/9). However, Bradley "dropped all traces of politeness yesterday," when campaign workers handed out mock prescription forms "prescribing a lifetime of truth serum" for the vice president. Standing outside Manchester, NH, pharmacies, the Bradley campaign supplied residents with prescriptions for "Gore-itis," saying that symptoms include "[u]ncontrollable lying." According to the forms, failure to comply with the medications would result in "uncontrollable negative campaigning, lack of respect for the voters of New Hampshire and further abandonment of the principle of health care for all." The efforts come one day after the Gore campaign supplied the state's seniors with handouts touting Gore's plan to include prescription coverage for Medicare beneficiaries and vowing to fight drug companies to lower prescription prices. Bradley officials believe that their candidate needs to start responding to the Gore attack. Mo Elleithee, Bradley's New Hampshire spokesperson, said, "We are not going to be shy in pointing out whenever the vice president and his campaign are distorting our record." However, Douglas Hattaway, Gore's state spokesperson, said, "We are focusing on legitimate issues and the Bradley campaign is launching negative personal attacks. ... The fact is, he [Bradley] was called the drug industry's most effective defender in Congress" (Zuckman, Boston Globe, 12/10).